As Taiwan prepares for a historic referendum on marriage equality, 27 major companies are urging voters to choose love.
Businesses like Airbnb, Deutsche Bank, Google, Hewlett-Packard, IBM Corporation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Microsoft, and Oracle signed onto a letter supporting LGBTQ inclusion in the state of 23 million people. Released on Thursday, the statement claimed same-sex couples “deserve the same right to marry in Taiwan as other couples.”
“[W]e support marriage equality and diversity… efforts in Taiwan,” the companies said. “We believe our businesses—and Taiwan’s society and economy—are strongest when we put aside our differences and find strength in our commonalities.”
Signatories were joined by advocacy groups like Council for Global Equality, Freedom to Marry Global Action, and Human Rights Campaign, who coordinated the statement.
“These major businesses are speaking out in one united voice to make clear they stand with the Taiwanese LGBTQ community in their fight for equality,” claimed HRC Global Director Ty Cobb in a press release. “This is a pivotal moment for equality in the region, as Taiwan is set to become the first in Asia to recognize marriage equality.”
“In order to keep the momentum moving forward, now more than ever, it’s important that fair-minded voices speak out and voice their support for LGBTQ equality,” Cobb added.
On Nov. 24, Taiwanese will weigh in on a first-of-its-kind plebiscite on same-sex marriage. Last year the Taiwanese Constitutional Court claimed that preventing LGBTQ couples from marrying violates the state’s constitution, but the ruling did not legalize the freedom to marry. Instead the court gave Taiwan two years to pass its own law.
Should the municipality vote in favor of marriage equality, it would be the first territory in Asia to do so. But if Taiwan votes down same-sex unions, it would be the first to reject LGBTQ rights at the ballot box.
Jennifer Lu, coordinator of the Marriage Equality Coalition, thanked the multinational corporations for their support.
“These companies know that achieving marriage equality in Taiwan is not just the right thing to do, it’s also good for business,” said Lu, who also works at the Taiwan Tongzhi (LGBT) Hotline Association. “We believe that respecting diversity and inclusion can bring harmony and strength to society.”
Voters will actually sound off on five ballot initiatives concerning LGBTQ rights later this month. Another concerns the Gender Equity Education Act (GEEA), which mandates the inclusion of queer and trans topics in school curricula.
Early polls indicate wide support for LGBTQ equality. Surveys have shown as many as seven in 10 voters favor full relationship recognition for same-sex couples.
Nine days before votes are tallied, signatories claimed upholding the values of “diversity, inclusion, respect, equality and non-discrimination” at the ballot box will make Taiwan’s business community and society “stronger and more successful.”
“Research has shown that a diverse workforce is more creative, productive, and competitive,” they claimed. “Policies that support and promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace also help businesses in Taiwan attract and retain the top talent we need to remain competitive in the global economy.”
The open letter was released just hours after nearly 180 companies voiced support for trans equality in another statement coordinated by HRC. Those businesses included Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Uber.
The letter was organized in response to reports the Trump administration is drafting a memo limiting the federal definition of gender to “biological sex.”
According to the New York Times, the memo is currently under consideration by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and will be sent to the Justice Department (DOJ) by the end of the year.
Here’s the full list of the companies and NGOs who signed onto support equality in Taiwan. It will be updated as more join the statement.
Canmeng International Inc.
CASETEK HOLDINGS LIMITED
Council for Global Equality
The Dow Chemical Company
Ernst & Young (EY)
Freedom to Marry Global Action
Hewlett Packard (HP)
Human Rights Campaign
JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Open for Business
Oriented Enterprise Co., LTD
Out & Equal Workplace Advocates
QLL PTE. LTD.
Taiwan Tongzhi (LGBT) Hotline Association
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